The Lewis and Clark Exposition Gold Dollar was authorized at the request of the Lewis and Clark Centennial and American Pacific Exposition and Oriental Fair Company for the exposition to be held in Portland, Oregon. Oddly, the coins included portraits of the two explorers with one on each side, creating a two-headed coin. The gold commemorative coins were minted during two years from 1904 to 1905.
The obverse of each coin featured a left facing profile portrait of Meriwether Lewis with inscriptions “Lewis-Clark Exposition Portland Ore.” and the date “1904” or “1905”. The reverse featured the portrait of William Clark, also presented as a left facing profile. The surrounding inscriptions read “United States of America” and “One Dollar”. Both the obverse and reverse were designed by Charles Barber based on portraits by Charles Wilson Peale.
These commemorative gold coins followed the similar issues for the Louisiana Purchase Exposition. The Lewis and Clark Gold Dollars were sold for a price of $2 each, compared to the sales price of $3 each for the prior issue. Despite the reduced price, few collectors were interested in the offering and only a relatively small number was sold to the broader public. Out of the maximum authorized mintage of 250,000 coins, only about 10,000 coins were sold for each year.
One hundred years later, the 200th anniversary of the famous expedition was commemorated with the 2004 Lewis and Clark Silver Dollar. This time around, both explorers appeared on the obverse of the coin with the image of a Peace Medal on the reverse.
Lewis and Clark Gold Dollar Coin Specifications
Designer: Charles E. Barber
Composition: 90% gold, 10% copper
Weight: 1.672 grams
Diameter: 15 mm
Authorization: Public Law No. 58-111
Maximum Authorized Mintage: 250,000
Lewis and Clark Gold Dollar Mintage